Trump Denies Climate Science in California, Biden Labels Him a 'Climate Arsonist'
The climate crisis has wedged its way into the presidential campaign as President Trump, who has barely mentioned the fires raging on the West Coast, visited California on Monday. When pressed on global warming, Trump told a briefing, "I don't think science knows, actually."
In the meantime, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has campaigned while observing social distancing, called the president a "climate arsonist" from a museum in his home state Delaware, as The New York Times reported.
Trump has claimed that the fires were caused by California's mismanagement of forests, even though most of the fires have started and burned on federally owned lands, not state forests.
On the way to Monday's briefing near Sacramento with California Governor Gavin Newsom and other top Democratic officials, Trump once again blamed forest mismanagement as the issue.
"When trees fall down after a short period of time, they become very dry — really like a matchstick," Trump said, as The New York Times reported. "And they can explode. Also leaves. When you have dried leaves on the ground, it's just fuel for the fires."
Then he had this exchange during the briefing, as The Hill reported.
Newsom: "We obviously feel very strongly the hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting dryer. Something has happened to the plumbing of the world and we come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science in and observed evidence is self-evident that climate change is real and that is exacerbating this."
Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, then warned against putting one's "head in the sand" by ignoring what the data and the science say is happening due the climate crisis.
Trump: "It'll start getting cooler, you just watch."
Crowfoot: "I wish science agreed with you,"
Trump: "I don't think science knows, actually."
Trump did not explain his thoughts or pontificate further on what science does and doesn't know, For millions of Americans, the effects of the climate crisis are difficult to ignore. Another hurricane is headed for the Gulf Coast, which is still recovering from Hurricane Laura a couple of weeks ago. The Southwest saw a record stretch of triple-digit temperature days. On the West Coast, the raging fires have consumed millions of acres and have made the air hazardous to breathe in several cities.
From Delaware, Biden gave a speech where he spoke of his own proposed climate crisis policies and called Trump a "climate arsonist." Biden drew a connection between Trump's handling of climate-crisis issues and his mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial tension roiling through the country, as The Washington Post reported.
"If we have four more years of Trump's climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?" Biden asked, as The New York Time reported. "How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms? If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?"
"Donald Trump's climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes," Biden said, according to The Washington Post. "But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating and more deadly."
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By Jessica Corbett
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday was the lone progressive to vote against Tom Vilsack reprising his role as secretary of agriculture, citing concerns that progressive advocacy groups have been raising since even before President Joe Biden officially nominated the former Obama administration appointee.
<div id="a420d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5369c498a5855fe2143b86fa07e23dff"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1364300806988652548" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨🚨🚨 Bernie Sanders voted against Tom Vilsack's nomination. It's great to see the Senator stick to his principles a… https://t.co/u4XNU4viNC</div> — RootsAction (@RootsAction)<a href="https://twitter.com/Roots_Action/statuses/1364300806988652548">1614109634.0</a></blockquote></div>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Beverly Law and William Moomaw
Protecting forests is an essential strategy in the fight against climate change that has not received the attention it deserves. Trees capture and store massive amounts of carbon. And unlike some strategies for cooling the climate, they don't require costly and complicated technology.
The U.S. has more than 800 million acres of natural and planted forests and woodlands, of which nearly 60% are privately owned. USDA / USFS
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By Matt Casale
There were many lessons to be learned from Texas' prolonged periods of lost power during its cold snap, which saw temperatures drop into the single digits. But one many people may not recognize is that electric vehicles, or EVs, can be part of a smart resiliency plan — not only in the case of outages triggered by the cold but in other scenarios caused by extreme weather events, from fire-related blackouts in California to hurricane-hit power losses in Puerto Rico.
A car driving in the snow in Dallas, Feb. 2021. Matthew Rader / CC BY-SA 4.0<p>Experts recognize that electric vehicles are a central climate solution for their role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But EVs are also essentially batteries on wheels. You can store energy in those batteries, and if EVs are equipped with something called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle-to-grid" target="_blank">vehicle-to-grid</a> or vehicle-to-building technology, they can also be used to keep the lights on in emergencies. The technology allows the energy being stored in an EV battery to be pushed back into the grid or into buildings to provide power.</p><p>There are hurdles: The technology is still <a href="https://www.greenbiz.com/article/vehicle-grid-technology-revving" target="_blank">developing</a>, the vast majority of EVs currently on the road do not have this capability, and utilities would need regulatory approval before bringing it to scale. But done right it could be a great opportunity.</p><p>Electric car batteries can hold approximately <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2019/11/how-california-can-use-electric-vehicles-keep-lights" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">60 kilowatt hours (kWh)</a> of energy, enough to provide back-up power to an average U.S. household for two days. Larger electric vehicles like buses and trucks have even bigger batteries and can provide more power. The American company Proterra produces electric buses that can store <a href="https://www.proterra.com/press-release/proterra-launches-zx5-electric-bus/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">up to 660 kWh of energy</a>. Electric <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/electric-trash-trucks-are-coming-quietly-to-your-town-11602098620#:~:text=Electric%20trash%20truck%20love%20is%20in%20the%20air.&text=A's%20program%20to%20reduce%20carbon,being%20primarily%20electric%20by%202023." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">garbage trucks</a> and even <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/19/business/electric-semi-trucks-big-rigs.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">big-rigs</a>, with bigger batteries, are becoming a reality too.</p>
MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann / CC BY 2.0<p>If equipped with vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-building technology, those cars, buses and trucks could prove invaluable during future blackouts. People could rely on their cars to power their houses. Municipalities, transit agencies and school districts could send out their fleets to the areas most in need. We could power homes, shelters and emergency response centers — and could keep people warm, healthy and comfortable until power could be restored.</p><p>But to add this great resiliency tool to our arsenal in times of extreme weather, we must significantly increase the number of EVs on the road. In 2019 electric cars accounted for only about <a href="https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/articles/fotw-1136-june-1-2020-plug-vehicle-sales-accounted-about-2-all-light-duty" target="_blank">2%</a> of all light-duty vehicle sales in the country. Electric buses and trucks are becoming more common in the United States, but still only represent a tiny fraction of the fleet. As it stands now, the EVs currently on the road, even if equipped with vehicle-to-grid technology, would do little to help a broad swath of the population in need of power.</p>
A line of electric cars at charging stations. Andrew Bone / CC BY 2.0
With lockdowns in place and budgets slashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many environmental protections vanished this past year, leaving some of the world's most vulnerable species and habitats at risk. But conservationists at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation were faced with an entirely different threat.
Annapolis, Maryland, is suing 26 oil and gas companies for deceiving the public about their products' role in causing climate change. The city is among two dozen state and local governments to file such a lawsuit.
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